I recently read a book called Big Questions Worth Dreams by Sharon Parks. It is a book on mentoring emerging adults but I believe it can be applied to all stages of life. In the book she said there are three practices which lead to successful mentorship. Over the next three weeks we will explore the practices of Hearth, Table and Commons.
Sitting around a camp fire has led to some of the deepest conversations I have ever had:
- What is the meaning of life?
- How big is the universe?
- If you could do anything what would it be?
- How HUGE must God be to have created everything?
A hearth is the floor of a fireplace. It is a warm space, that people pause and reflect. It is in this reflection, while be comforted by warmth that someone is able to do their deepest thinking.
Too often in a students lives are they running from point a to b. They had school, now its racing to soccer. Band just finished now they have to make it to youth group. They just finished hanging out with Paul but now its time to head to Jennifer’s house.
We work in a very busy culture, and because of this pacing we often don’t have time to digest our food let alone our deepest thoughts.
I believe that good ministry takes the time to stop and think about what we are learning and experiencing. Students sometimes need someone to say STOP!!! Look at how God worked in your life there. STOP!!! Think about what Christ’s death really means for you.
It is our job as youth workers to hit pause so students can decompress and really soak in the realities of God and what he is doing.
One way I have seen this work is by simply taking a few moments and asking students to write down one phrase that stuck with them from a teaching moment.
Another one that worked really well, is one time as I read a Bible passage 3 times over. I asked students to draw or write something down that stood out to them from the passage. After they had written or drawn for a few minutes I had them share it with one another. The amazing thing was some profound truths came out in simple stick figure drawings, while other caught a catch phrase which they were able to put into their hearts.
Better yet, take some students to the beach; on a hike; or to a park. Sit and have conversation looking up at the sky. Sometimes your students will just tell some dumb jokes and talk about the latest gossip. But if you direct that conversation while sitting in a hearth place, you may be amazed by what you will share together.
Can you think of a hearth experience you have had?
Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. You can follow his blog at: kylecorbin.blogspot.com or Twitter: @CorbinKyle